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Hurricane Florence: Storm downgraded but threat remains
16 September 2018, 02:29 | Ross Houston
Hurricane Florence's Path Remains Uncertain As Storm Closes In On Carolinas
Forecasters say Florence, the first major hurricane to take direct aim at the US mainland this year, could batter coastal areas with whipping winds, torrential rain and storm surges as high as 9 feet. The destructive storm surge will occur as the hurricane's eye comes ashore from Thursday night into Friday, the Weather Channel said, and coastal flooding may persist through multiple high tide cycles into this weekend east of the center of Florence.
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A sailor heaves line in preparation ahead of Hurricane Florence at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia, September 11, 2018.
"For a meandering storm, the biggest concern - as we saw with Harvey - is the huge amount rainfall", said Chris Landsea, chief of tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center.
Barbados is expected to start feeling the impact of tropical storm Isaac between late tonight and early morning. Eventually, Florence will veer north into the Appalachian Mountains, bringing soaking rains to Virginia and western North Carolina, before sputtering out late next week near DE and Maryland, the FWS reported.
"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference.
The Met Office issued two "yellow" alerts on Friday as the storm began creeping towards south-western corners of the United Kingdom and the tip of Ireland.
"It's a very risky storm", Federal Emergency Management Authority administrator Jeff Byard said.
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At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm
Hundreds of people had to be rescued in New Bern, North Carolina, as they called for help overnight, city officials said. The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 21 miles per hour (34 kph) on Friday morning in Columbia.
Millions of people were expected to lose power from the storm and restoration could take weeks.
Early Thursday Florence was about 235 miles (378 kilometers) east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 280 miles (450 kilometers) east southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
That's because the weather systems that push and pull a storm disappear as Florence nears land around the border between North and SC.
Forecasters expected some strengthening today, as Florence marches west-north-west at around 13kmh.
In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people about 90 miles inland, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes by Sunday afternoon because of the flood risk.
"I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids", she said.
She said: "Helene is moving up from the Atlantic towards us".
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.
Tropical Storm Florence crawls inland as it batters North and SC
The rest of SC and North Carolina into southwestern Virginia will experience 5 to 10 inches, with isolated totals up to 15 inches. Roads in its vicinity were flooded as well. "The sun rose this morning on an extremely unsafe situation, and it's getting worse".
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The Buzz | Tropical bands from Florence begin lashing Carolinas
Between 1 and 3 million people could lose power in the Carolinas in the wake of Hurricane Florence , according to Duke Energy. The center is slowing down and is expected to stall and perhaps wander around just offshore on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.